The Sail to Guatemala
The trip started off without a hitch. We set off in the afternoon so it was only a few hours before the sun started setting. It was a surreal experience, this was our sail to Guatemala! As we cruised parallel to the Florida Keys the only thing(s) standing in our way were lobster traps; which may not seem like a big deal but they can be tricky to dodge in a 51ft Catamaran. The lighthouse guarding a reef was one of the last glimpses of land we would see for the next 4 days.
When night began to fall we got into pairs and delegated night shifts. With 8 of us, we took 2-hour shifts per pair. Naturally, April and I were together on a shift, she is the one that got me into this in the first place. April introduced me to captain Ted and his wife Gail and they are the ones that felt the burden to start this orphanage. Launching an orphanage is the whole reason we were going to sail to Guatemala in the first place, but more on that later. Mine and April’s shift was from 2:00 AM to 4:00 AM.
Josh… JOSH! It’s your turn.
It was just a hair past 2:00 AM now and the previous watchmen woke me up to take over. I got April and they briefed us on our heading and went to bed. After my eyes adjusted from looking at the GPS screen I couldn’t believe what I saw. The stars were like something out of a movie. The Milky Way seemed to wrap across the sky as if the heavens were giving our planet a hug. The sea was so black it reminded April of ink. It was an incredible experience just to be there in all of that raw nature. This nature was so different from anything I had experienced before.
Before I knew it 4:00 AM rolled around and it was time to clock out. I woke up the next shift and climbed back into my bed. The rolling of the waves created a sensation in bed that I wasn’t accustomed to, making it hard to fall asleep. I wasn’t the least bit upset though, this was a totally new experience and my mind was fascinated by all the new senses.
Sunrise the next morning split the darkness revealing just how isolated we were. Our vessel that seemed big in the dock, seemed so small now… A quick glance at the GPS would remind you just how far of a swim you would have to endure to make it back to land. It wasn’t something a beginner should think about too long. We pressed on through the waves and the rockings and tumblings were incessant.
One day as we were trying to raise the mainsail we heard a loud pop. Immediately the mainsail came crashing down – the block at the top of the mast had broken. After assessing the problem we hoisted Jared, one of the crew members, up to the top of the mast with a few tools. If the tumbling and tossing of the waves were mediocre on the deck of the boat, the top of the mast could be swaying as much as 15 to 20 feet side to side. Scaling the 70ft mast was no easy task but it was a successful project.
The time came again that night for me to take the night shift. It had become one of my favorite times. It was my luck that my phone failed me and I was left without any music in the middle of the ocean. I say it was my luck literally and not sarcastically. April fell asleep so I was without music and conversation. The waves breaking over themselves and crashing against the boat became a symphony. I wasn’t tired. Even though it was the middle of the night I couldn’t help but think of the way men used to cross the seas. They didn’t have music either. I looked into the ocean and realized our boat was disturbing some kind of bioluminescent creature leaving a wake of glowing green. It was hypnotic to see each wave, each wake, glowing. Like small hills of water that had trapped a thousand fireflies.
Within hours of visual contact with Guatemala, a pod of dolphins came to join us. Playing and splashing at the front of the bow, these friendly creatures had as much fun ducking and dodging as we did watching them. It was hard to count just how many there were but we could guess about 15 to 20. It was by far the most unique welcome I had ever received.
The days went and actually passed a lot faster than I thought they would. Even though we were only out for 4 days they quickly blended together. It wasn’t long before our sail to Guatemala was over and we could see land. This was the destination we had set out for. The mission was to deliver the beds, clothes, and other supplies that we had loaded the boat down with before we left. Gail had a burden for the children of Guatemala and was doing what she could to help. Blue Water Surrender was birthed to that end. This nonprofit organization was the medium to offer aid to Guatemalans. The way God provided for this orphanage and how he had brought people together to make it happen was incredible.
We stayed in Guatemala for 1 month and by the time we left the home was ready to receive children. Not only that but some of the board members of Blue Water Surrender were able to gain accreditation from the Guatemalan government for this orphanage. It was incredible to witness and even though I have seen so much up to this point. I was still so moved by what I saw in Guatemala. Getting there was a physical adventure of the senses, being there was a spiritual adventure of the soul.
To view even more pictures from this trip, click HERE